“I Couldn’t Get To It Fast Enough” – Nashville Police Officer Who Took Down Covenant School Shooter Recalls Heroic Response

Nashville PD

This past March, a shooter opened fire at The Covenant School, in Nashville, Tennessee, a private Presbyterian elementary school in the Green Hills neighborhood.

Three students and three adults were tragically killed before the shooter was taken down by police.

The culprit, 28-year-old former student, Audrey Hale, (who identifies as transgender and went by the name Aiden), left a manifesto behind, however, up until today, it has been withheld from the public.

But now, it appears that Louder With Crowder has reportedly obtained three (of the many) pages of Hale’s writings, which provide a look into the mind of the shooter as she was planning her attack on the school.

The journal-entry style writings, if authentic, appear to have been written on the day of the shooting, and reveal Hale’s mindset, as well as her plan and schedule, leading up to the massacre:

“Today is the day. The day has finally come! I can’t believe its here. Don’t know how I was able to get this far, but here I am. I’m a little nervous, but excited too. Been excited for the past 2 weeks.”

She also writes that there were “several times” where she could have been caught, “especially back in the summer of 2021.”

However, if you’re looking for motive, look no further than this entry which allegedly details her hatred for “white privilege crackers” in their “fancy schools” driving their “daddy’s mustang.”

Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell vowed to investigate how this was leaked to Crowder and company, however others argue that the public deserves to know, and question the The Metropolitan Police Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations for keeping it quiet.

Bodycam Footage

Nashville police released video footage of Hale shooting out the front doors and walking into the school with two assault rifles and a handgun before killing nine-year-old students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and Williams Kinney, and custodian Mike Hill, 61, substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61, and Katherine Koonce, 60, the headmaster at the school.

Officers were able to easily infiltrate the school, and quickly fatally shoot Hale before she could hurt any more victims. The two officers who fired the shots were identified as four year vet Rex Englebert, and nine year vet Michael Collazo.

From Englebert’s intense footage, you can see him exit his vehicle and grab his rifle from the back of the squad car, before yelling at fellow officers to go.

They walk in and begin to clear the first floor, when they begin to hear gunshots on the second floor. They make their way up, and continue to hear shots. They follow the shots, turn the corner, and see Hale standing by a window, and they fire the shots without any hesitation.

You can see the same from Collazo’s point of view as well… just an insanely high pressure situation that’s hard to watch, let alone to participate in as one of the responding officers.

Needless to say, this video gives you even more appreciation for the officers involved. Skill, training, experience, bravery… there’s no telling how many lives were saved were saved by the actions of these police officers.


The Police Response

With that being said, Englebert and Collazo are now speaking out about that horrific, yet also heroic day, according to FOX News.

Englebert was the first to speak at the press conference, where he recalled:

“I really had no business being where I was. I think you can call it fate or God or whatever you want, but I can’t count on both my hands the irregularities that put me in that position when a call for service came out for an active deadly aggression at a school.

I immediately turned on my lights and sirens knowing the severity of such a call. I’ve been to I don’t know how many false active deadly aggression calls. Something told me it was time to really get to this one. I treat them all the same, but I was driving as safely I could get my body there.”

He credited the staffers at the building for giving him key information to find the shooter quickly:

“Luckily, due to the bravery of two staff members, they stayed on scene, they didn’t run, and they gave me concise, clear information for me to use to help anyone in danger.

A gentleman gave me the exact key I needed to enter the building. It was readily apparent I was going to be the one to make entry. I’d been given my training. I know my role, and I made entry with the personnel I had. And luckily, I had some.”

He didn’t hear gunfire until a few minutes after he was already in the building, but when he did, he straight for it:

“We cleared the hallway we had, room by room, until we made it into the lobby. When I did hear stimulus, I couldn’t get to it fast enough. I just looked for the nearest staircase I could find because I could tell it was above my head.

Eventually, following the guidance of other officers, I luckily deployed my rifle, kept walking toward the sound of gunfire. There was, like sergeant said, some smoke in the air. It was very similar to the training we had received.”

I definitely wish I had also deployed my rifle caliber rated heavy plates when I found myself at the front of the stack where I found the stimulus or the threat on the second floor of the school. Work wasn’t over, we didn’t know if there was another threat. 

Immediately took teammates I’m not used to working with started clearing rooms, escorting children, teachers along. There were more personnel and resources at this time. I was able to guide them out.” 

A certified hero.

Next up was Collazo, where he discussed the day as well:

“We heard the thousand code go out of the active shooter, and we heard the dispatch location and that it was in midtown. Regardless if it was in midtown or not, like every other officer in our department, we took off running out of the office, plugged in the address on our GPS’s, and we took off toward the location.

As we were on our way to the school itself, our dispatch as doing a phenomenal job. They were giving us as much updates as they could. They told us the individual had entered into the school, they were actively shooting, gave us a description. And they were receiving this information from the individuals that were already on scene.

Without hesitation, the employee just took off running toward the door that was learned later to be where the shooter had entered. He took off running and telling me to follow him, which helped out tremendously. So I stayed in my vehicle and drove that direction.”

He painfully recalled coming across two of the victims on his way to neutralize the shooter:

“I ended up parking my vehicle, exiting and noticed all the glass to that door had been shot out. Saw shell casings on the ground, bullet holes on the door, so I immediately made entry. As I made entry into the school, I saw an individual that I believe has been identified as the janitor.

He was laid out on the ground not moving. I relayed that information over our radio to the dispatch that I had made entry, and I had an individual that was down. Still didn’t have a stimulus. The shooter wasn’t shooting at that point.

At some point during that time frame, we started hearing the first shots. Once we started hearing the first shots that’s when everything kind of kicked into overdrive for us. We had gone up the stairwell, made our way down the hallway, that’s when I ran into that second victim laid on the ground.

We had to push past the victim because we continued to hear more shots being fired. It was very distinctive. You could clear as day tell that rifle rounds were being fired. We came upon a T intersection. Sgt. Mathes was on one side, and I was on the other side.

We didn’t know if the shooter was to the left or the right. Smoke was everywhere. The fire alarm was going off. Somewhere right around that point we heard another shot.”

So it told us the shooter was to our right. That’s when I made the call and yelled that the shooter was right. And we pushed right and continued down that hallway. Officer Rex had caught up to us.

I noticed that Officer Rex had a rifle with an LPVO on it. And not knowing where the shooter was in the distance that we’d possibly encounter, asked Officer Rex to push forward for us, which he did without hesitation. We continued down that path until we encountered the shooter.” 

Sgt. Mathes also discussed the day as well, and recalled the horrific moment he and everybody else in the squad had to step over a victim in order to get to the shooter:

 “All of us stepped over a victim. I to this day don’t know how I did that morally, but training is what kicked in.

Our job is to run toward it.. We just heard the sounds and from my training experiences, I knew those sounds to be rifles.”

Collazo also talked about the moment they knew everything was OK:

“That was when I was able to call my wife and tell her that I was OK and advise her of everything.” 

Thank God for these brave men who rushed directly into the face of danger to save lives. If only the community of Uvalde, Texas, had men like them…

Here’s the full press conference:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock